Our New Roller Coaster

Steve McKinionUncategorized3 Comments

Yesterday, it would seem, is indicative of what the next three years will be like for us. I must admit, I don’t like what I see.

The day ended well enough. The Centennial Authority (the body which runs the RBC Center in Raleigh) hosted patients and families from the UNC Children’s Hospital in their suite at a Carolina Hurricanes hockey game last night. It was funny to see all these bald-headed kids running around, eating buffalo wings (Harrison had like twenty), and enjoying themselves. My dad, Lachlan, and I went with Harrison. In the third period a visitor showed up in the suite: American Idol Scotty McCreery.


Earlier in the day Harrison received a visit from Elliot Avent, the head baseball coach at N.C. State University.  With Harrison’s love for baseball, that was a huge treat.  He talked to Harrison about faith and perseverance.  Coach Avent was a wonderful encouragement to Harrison, and to the rest of us. He brought some signed gifts from the football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and swimming teams.  I couldn’t believe the work he had done over the last several days traveling around collecting things for Harrison.  That man won our hearts.

No full-ride for baseball, though.  Yet 😉

Before hearing from Coach Avent, I received a package in the mail from Wipf & Stock publishers.  As an author I regularly receive books, etc., from publishers, so this was not out of the ordinary.  I didn’t even look at the contents initially.  But when I did, I was shocked to find a letter from Matthew Stock.  Through the wonder of social media he had heard about Harrison and begun praying for him.  He included three music CDs for us to enjoy.  What a gift that letter was.  Just when my head was spinning from a set-back, a message of encouragement and hope arrived.  I never cease to be amazed at God’s timing.  I’m certain he smiled when he saw the tears of joy I shed upon reading it.

We needed last night for several reasons.  Harrison had really not gotten out of the house since his release from the hospital, except to go back to the hospital.  He really wanted some “normal” living.

But even more, the doctor called yesterday concerned that the treatment was not working as quickly as he would have liked.  In a nutshell, he wanted the bone marrow biopsy from Tuesday (Day 8 of the treatment) to show less than 5% of leukemia cells.  Unfortunately, though there has been some improvement, it is not enough.  All that means for right now is that Harrison has to have another biopsy Tuesday (rather than just chemo) to test again.  If the cells (known as blasts) are not at less that 5% this time, Harrison will become categorized as a “Slow Early Responder” rather than a “Rapid Early Responder.”  This will mean four hospital admissions of four days each in a few months, right in the middle of school and baseball season.  If the blasts are less than 5% of the marrow, then the next treatment will all be outpatient.  Of course, we are praying for outpatient chemotherapy rather than hospitalizations.

I wept tears of sorrow when the doctor called.  When I got the letter from Matthew Stock, again when Coach Avent was in our home, and again when Harrison so enjoyed the hockey game I cried tears of joy.  In one day I went out in sorrow but returned in joy.  Our Triune God is indeed both great and good.

If you could join us in praying earnestly that Harrison’s leukemia will respond more quickly to the treatment, we’d be eternally grateful.  More than for convenience, we want to see remission sooner rather than later.  The later the remission, the more likelihood of a relapse later.  Your thoughts, prayers, letters, emails, and facebook updates continue to encourage all of us.  Thank you for them.

You can continue to follow Harrison’s story at www.facebook.com/pray4harrison and www.caringbridge.org/visit/harrisonmckinion/


3 Comments on “Our New Roller Coaster”

  1. I continue to pray that your roller coater ride will have more highs than lows. I’m thanking God in advance for good results that will come from next week’s biopsy!

    While reading your blog, I thought about the things we take for granted … like “normal living”! I’m so glad you, your dad, Lachlan and Harrison enjoyed the hockey game (and the wings). Although events like this don’t “fix things” … it’s a blessing to know that people care enough to plan them for hurtig children and their families. Who knows how God will use Harrison’s story in the lives of others ….it’s evident He’s already done so.

    Wishing you all a blessed Christmas … it’s bound to be an extra special one! The Skipper family will be thinking about you!


    1. Hi Dr. McKinion,

      I’m a former student, and I just wanted you to know that my wife and I are praying for all of you.

  2. Our God is a healing God. I’m praying in the name of Jesus, His Son, for rapid response to treatments and total healing. Thank You, Father for answered prayer.

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